" In the 1990s, De Maria began making great stone spheres, one of which, a 25-tonne piece of highly polished red granite, has just bumped down at the Turkentor gallery in Munich. A former barracks that once provided a bunk for a young soldier called Adolf Hitler, the Turkentor was bombed in the second world war, then all but demolished in the 1970s. Only a fragment, a grand neoclassical gatehouse, remained. The Turkentor, neatly situated between two major Munich galleries, has now been reconstructed by architects Sauerbruch Hutton – and given a new life as a gallery remarkable for the fact that its purpose is to house one artwork, De Maria's sphere, and nothing else.
Large Red Sphere, as the Turkentor's sole exhibit is called, measures 260cm in diameter and sits in totemic splendour at the heart of the gallery, lit solely by the sun and the moon, through a glass roof. There is nothing else to see here, although the enveloping architecture, and the way light cascades around its shapes and spaces, are striking. Yet it is hard not to be wholly absorbed by Large Red Sphere, which watches you and the world beyond like some giant unwinking eye. It has a hypnotic quality: your own eye is drawn to both its surface and into its core. You can watch it for hours – and some people do. You can even touch it. "I like people to do that," says De Maria, although most visitors are too intimidated."
Excerpts from Jonathan Glancey's article for Guardian